Most writers are readers too, aren’t they? Or maybe I’m just a word addict, who knows, but I read a lot. I feel naked without a book in my handbag, like I might get caught sitting at a T station (or subway station, for you non-Bostonians) with nothing to do but look for rats in the tracks. Oh, the horror! – all because I left my book sitting on my bedside table.
I particularly love reading memoirs. More often than not, I find that the real events that take place in a person’s life always trump made up stories. Because this stuff really happened, and these situations, whether they be obstacles or euphoric moments, shaped someone’s outlook. I also believe that any interesting person can craft an interesting story out of his or her life.
I probably complete one book a month, or maybe every 3 weeks. I’ve read three or four books this summer, but there are two that I’d like to pass along to you.
Smashed by Koren Zailckas – particularly because the author is only about 4 years older than me. I don’t think I’ve ever read a published memoir that takes place in the 90’s, around the same time that I grew up. It was so easy for me to visualize the people, the background noise, and the grunge outfits of the Stone Temple Pilots generation.
Plus, any writer who dares to describe a personal struggle (alcoholism in this case) in raw, honest pros is a winner in my book
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls – both funny and heart wrenchingly sad. Jeannette Wells portrays an upbringing of constant uprooting because her parents could not (well, did not), keep steady jobs. When they finally settled—in a FRIGHTENING town in West Virginia—their house deteriorated to the point of frozen-sink-water-in-the-winter.
But somehow, though by all accounts it seems as if Jeannette’s parents failed the family, the tale is uplifting. And by the end, I came to love them all…well, her father in particular. If you have read this, or plan to, let me know what you think of the “rock sale.” Bestill my heart!
I’ve got a few non-memoirs on deck as well:
The Elements of Persuasion by Robert Dickman and Richard Maxwell (I was actually asked to review this PR book, so look for some comments soon)
Perfume by Patrick Suskind (I’m six pages in, and the book is to eerie and disgusting that I just can’t get enough!)
Lucky by Alice Sebold (I’m a little nervous – the memoir discusses Sebold’s brutal rape her freshman year of college – but I think it’s an important read nonetheless)
If you have any reactions or comments on these books, let me know. I’d also like to ask you for suggestions of books that have inspired you. Please, list away!